Biodegradable Stents: An Evolution in Management of Benign Intestinal Strictures

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Benign intestine strictures secondary to postoperative narrowing or inflammatory bowel disease can be managed surgically or conservatively. Some patients may not be suitable surgical candidates and some patients may choose not to have repeat surgery. Biodegradable (BD) stents offer a prolonged dilatory effect before gradual degradation and obviates the need of a second procedure for stent removal. BD stents have high technical success rates (mean, 94.4%; median, 100%; range, 86% to 100%) but widely variable clinical success rates (range, 45% to 100%). Stent migration is the most commonly reported complication (mean, 22.2%; range, 0% to 36%). In the future, with better understanding of the factors contributing to stent migration, improvement in present stent design and better anchoring techniques, the stent migration rate is expected to decrease and improve clinical outcome. The role of prophylactic BD stent placement to prevent stricture development postintestine surgery is an intriguing idea and needs to be explored. As of now, the use of BD stents is a reasonable option for patients with dilatation resistant intestinal strictures who are unfit for surgery or refuse to have surgical treatment.

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